South Carolina on June 9 became the 44th state to prohibit texting while driving, after Gov. Nikki Haley signed a bill that state legislators approved five days earlier.
The new law overrides a number of different city and county ordinances aimed at curbing distracted driving, including one in Greenville that had prohibited both texting and talking on a handheld device while driving.
The new state law took effect immediately, but police will issue warnings only during a 180-day grace period. After that period has elapsed, first-time offenders will be fined $25. The maximum fine for subsequent offenses is $50.
Offenders, however, will not face penalty points on their license.
The law classifies texting while driving as a primary – rather than secondary – offense. As a result, law enforcement officers are authorized to pull over a motorist solely for that violation.
The Governors Highway Safety Association released a statement praising the new law, calling it “common sense legislation that creates uniformity across the state.”
To view a Fox Carolina video report on the new law, click on the photo or link above.